Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mitchell returns to the region for 3 days of talks with Israeli and Palestinian peace teams, Egyptian pres. Husni Mubarak, and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi Shaykh Muhammad bin Zayid al-Nahayan to press Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct talks. After their meeting, Abbas says he will begin direct talks with Israel if it accepts the 1967 borders as the baseline for negotiations and accepts deployment of international forces to guard them. (UPI 7/17; WP 7/18; AFP 7/19)

IDF troops on the northeastern Gaza border fire 3 artillery shells into an open area e. of Jabaliya, causing no reported injuries. In the West Bank, the IDF escorts Jewish settlers into Kafr Haris village nr. Salfit late at night to conduct religious ceremonies; conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin; conducts latenight patrols in Tulkarm without incident. Palestinians and international activists take part in weekly nonviolent demonstrations against land confiscation and settlement expansion nr. Karme Tzur settlement nr. Hebron and outside Beit Romano settlement in Hebron; the IDF fires rubbercoated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at the protesters, leaving 5 Palestinian injured (including 3 journalists), 10s suffering tear gas inhalation, 1 Palestinian cameraman under arrest, 1 international activist detained for questioning (later released). At least 10 Jewish settlers attack a Palestinian nr. the al-Ibrahimi Mosque/ Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, moderately injuring him; IDF troops observe but only intervene to defend the settlers when Palestinians try to protect the injured man. In Gaza, Hamas authorities attempting to boost their Muslim credentials, begin enforcing a ban (announced 1 yr. ago) on women smoking water pipes in public. (NYT 7/18; WP, WT 7/19; OCHA, PCHR 7/22)